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Suggestions & Questions > Controlling view of content and users

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message 1: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments I'm sure this has been requested before (probably by me), but two things I'd love to see:

1) a way to control what friends' activity you see -- for example, if you want to see only reviews from your friends but not the comments they make in groups, you could set your home page that way so that you wouldn't have to see discussions from groups you didn't want to read.

2) a way to suppress, for your account only, the posts of selected users. As in any large system, there are always people who just raise the blood pressure, and it would make the discussions more pleasant for everyone if you just didn't have to see the posts of people with whom you really shouldn't engage. (I know you can block certain users from sending you messages -- I'm talking about a way to filter their posts.)


message 2: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments That sounds like a great idea. A bozofilter.

message 3: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments So to speak, yes!

message 4: by Xysea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Xysea  (Xysea) | 15 comments Yes, I agree! Sounds fantastic! :D

message 5: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Jessica | 99 comments Yep, that's something I know I've requested a couple of times. I've participated in other systems where there is a such an option, and it really does help.

message 6: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments So we're agreed! A bozofilter would be a good thing.

message 7: by bsc (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 82 comments When would this feature be useful? Is there a lot users that repeatedly spam groups? Or is it just that some wish to live in their own world and pretend everyone is the same?

I can certainly agree that an ignore feature would be handy to use on those people with nothing better to do than to repeatedly spam a discussion board. Personally, I haven't seen that to be a problem at GoodReads.

However, if you get upset when others oppose your view or challenge your opinion, there has already been a much simpler solution proposed in this thread.

message 8: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments Is there a passive-aggressive group?

message 9: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Jessica | 31 comments ALL I want for Christmas is a filter that lets me control which friends I receive content from in the update feed, without having to go through the rudeness of unfriending them. That would totally rule, rule, rule, rule, RULE for those of us who like to avoid confrontation and are perhaps unreasonably fearful of hurting others' feelings.... I get some updates from people whose activities don't interest me, and they push down the good stuff so sometimes I miss updates I want to catch. The kind of filter discussed on here previously would really help, and if that's coming soon I'd really like to know, because if it isn't I might have to bite the bullet and let a couple of very nice people know that they "must not be very good friends," which I'd rather not do.

I definitely understand the impulse of not wanting to see certain people's posts in groups, but I can't help feeling like this would make the level of discourse around here even more toxic and chaotic than it already is. Maybe starting new groups with established codes of conduct might help? If you just think certain people are idiots, you can try skimming over them (that's what I do; yeah, it's hard), but this thread seems to be bringing up a larger issue about people around here having some serious trouble making nice, and displaying some essential common courtesy. I know this sounds kind of processey and irritating, but the reason why a lot of non-virtual groups do all that mumbo jumbo with the magic markers and butcher paper to make the list of rules is the prevent subsequent discussions from degenerating to a Lord of the Flies-like situation.

This site is the first time I've ever gotten sucked into the whole people-communicating-over-the-Internet thing, and I've been pretty shocked at points by my own and other people's behavior. I have been involved in some discussions here that would've probably ended in a physical fight, if we'd been in a bar. It's kind of like road rage, how people are in all their little cars and seem to forget that the other cars contain other human beings. At least, unlike on the freeway, no one is going to get shot on this site, but it'd still be cool if we could figure out how to get along a little more graciously.

message 10: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Jessica | 99 comments You know, this really isn't some crazy idea dreamed up by nutty Laura, somehow calculated to rejigger the whole system here. Many, many discussion groups and message boards offer this option, recognizing that sometimes it just makes conversations flow more easily, and provides a smoother, more customizable user experience, when you have the option to filter the posts of other users you, for whatever reason, don't care to read regularly.

Anyone who has participated in such a system can attest that it doesn't mean you avoid having your opinions challenged, that everyone uses it, or that you even use it to filter everyone you disagree with. Some people may raise the blood pressure more, or post at extraordinary length, or you just find them boring, and so you filter them. You always have the option to unfilter. It's just another tool to make available to users in order to improve their experience. It doesn't imply special rules of discourse to go along with it -- in fact, it cuts down on the need for rules, because everyone has a toolbox to employ as they see fit.

message 11: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments Huh? What does not wanting to read certain people who raise my blood pressure have to do with "preserving the integrity of the discussion boards"? When I was talking about adding an "edited" flag to posts, I was making the point that some people went back and edited posts in response to comments -- for example, to correct mistakes that someone had pointed out in their posts -- so that anyone reading later would have a false or distorted idea of how the conversation had proceeded. What on earth does that have to do with the idea that there are certain people whose posts I generally don't care to read? I'm saying that there I certain people here I don't like and who don't like me, whose opinions I have zero respect for, and don't want to read because life is too short and there's no point in engaging with people I detest. I'm sure other people feel the same way about me. What does that have to do with preserving the integrity of discussions for the readers, which was why I advocated an "edited" tag?

As for freedom of speech, I'm not familiar with this very odd interpretation you're imposing on it. Free speech means that people are free to say certain things without penalty from authority; it certainly doesn't mean that anyone is obliged to listen to anyone else's statements. Surely you're not suggesting that for speech to be free, everyone has to listen to everything everyone else says? Or maybe you're suggesting that by not reading certain posts, I'm depriving someone else of the right to say whatever she wants to say? By that definition, journalists and novelists don't have meaningful free speech because very few people read their books or columns. And I certainly never objected to the notion of being able to filter posts with bad language, if that's what people wanted to do -- I objected to the notion of systemwide filtering of all posts with "bad" language, regardless of the desires of particular users, especially under the incredibly dumb rubric of "Protect the children!" I mean, did you think this through for one second?

I'm rather shocked that anyone would object to a filtering tool being implemented, actually. No one would be forced to use it, and it could be turned on and off if you decided you wanted to see a certain post in context. And as jessica notes, it's hardly my idea -- I'm active on another system that supports a filter, and I'm aware of at least a couple others, including imdb, that have an "ignore" feature. Surely this isn't the first time you're hearing about this sort of feature?

I am flattered that you seem to follow my every word, though. Thanks!

message 12: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments Oh, and one other thing:

No, I absolutely did not advocate preventing people from deleting their posts. What I advocated was that when a post was deleted, a message be inserted saying "post deleted by such and such." Again, the idea was to make it clear to future readers that someone may have been responding to a post that's no longer there.

If you're going to make unfounded and illogical criticisms of my statements, at least make sure you're quoting me accurately. Thanks.

message 13: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Jessica | 31 comments I still find this idea very odd, though as noted I am new at this whole Internet dicussion medium. To me imagining this system brings to mind a real-world conversation in which at least one of the parties is deaf or hard of hearing, and thus can misse points made by other conversation participants if she or he is not looking at them. In my experience, this is more likely to disrupt, rather than smooth the flow of discussion, since one person is responding to points but missing important aspects of the context.

However, if you say you've seen this work, I'll certainly take your word for it, and see it as a legitimate option. I still think it steps over another issue, though, which is that it'd be great if we could all play a little nicer in the sandbox. I don't think attention to rules or structure is a purely terrible idea. For example, the discussion I suspect might've pissed Laura off so much earlier (I stopped following, so I don't know where it went after a point) might have been avoided if there were some clear agreeements from the outset about conduct and expectations. For example, I myself sometimes make sweeping and even ridiculous generalizations at times, and if I do this in a discussion, I WANT someone to call bullshit (respectfully, of course) on that. I want someone to say, "Jessica, that is a pretty big, crazy-sounding statement you're making. What is your evidence to back that up? Show us some footnotes. Show us the research. What are you talking about? What do you mean?" This, to me, is called "intellectual discourse," and I am personally comfortable with it; in fact, provided the challenge isn't mean, I welcome it. If there were a group where this practice was encouraged, I would join it.

However, some other people do not appreciate being called out like this, and I have little choice but to respect that. I usually do not challenge other people in my day-to-day life when they make sweeping generalizations, because I know that many people consider this rude, and will get very defensive, and then I will get pissed off, and the gloves will come off, and things will get very ugly, very fast, which is not what I want in my daily life, or in my book-themed internet site.

While I was reading the exchange earlier, I was struck by the thought that this unpleasant conflict MIGHT have been avoided (it might not have been, sure) if the participants had somehow been able to choose different groups, based on their interests and the kinds of discussions they're interested in having. For example, there could be a "We call each other on bullshit and don't get mad" group, and a "We're here to share our opinions in a totally nonconfrontational environment" group. Maybe this is crazy, or maybe it is not. But I personally want to remain in groups with a certain level of civility. Call me a hippie, but that's how I feel.

Honestly, back to the filters, the idea of trying to have a discussion with a bunch of people but knowing that they're all hearing different selected snips and pieces of what's said sounds to me like the set-up for a bad postmodernist novel. The more I think about it, the more it totally freaks me out. But of course, that's just my personal take on it. So there ya go...

message 14: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments Jessica, I think you make a number of very good points. The only one I really take issue with is the notion that the discourse here would be adversely affected by a filter. Indeed, a couple of people below have already said that they don't intend to read the other jessica's posts anymore, and they've advocated simply skipping over posts you don't want to read. That's fine -- keeps the blood pressure down and the threads more pleasant as a result. And as the other jessica suggested, in my experience, the quality of the discourse is usually actually improved by filters, since they just keep users who dislike each other out of sight and out of mind, so that there's no collateral damage from their sniping at each other.

Fact is, as a practical matter, you don't know who's reading whose posts anyway, even without a filter -- that's sort of the nature of internet discourse. In any extremely long thread, it's probably reasonable to assume that a lot of posts are getting skipped. The only thing a filter would do it make it far easier to skip over posts, which apparently people are doing, or intend to start doing, anyway. The other thing is that if the past is prologue, most people either won't use the filter at all or will use it for only a very few other users who really get them going.

As for your other points about people wanting to be called out or not, I think you're absolutely right. I'll say that I don't understand why people participate in discussions where the unspoken rule, in their mind, is that all anyone else is supposed to say is "Huh. I guess you're right." As far as I'm concerned, that's just a waste of time, and you're better off posting in a private group where you can hand pick your circle of cronies, all of whom are probably ready, willing, and able to confirm your every viewpoint. When you're talking in a circle of people who are largely strangers, though, I don't see why it's reasonable to expect that reaction from every person, every time.

message 15: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments Abigail,

I can't speak for Laura, but you seem to be misrepresenting the words she posted in those threads you cite. The cited discussions did not proceed around a single point (as few free-flowing discussions do), yet it appears you are trying to claim otherwise and attempting to use that diversion to put words in Laura's mouth, thus making it easier for you to argue a point that is not being argued. Furthermore, surely you can see the difference in requesting a personal filter vs. prohibiting speech for all.

Also, I just love this:

*"Given the tenor of your last two comments, I'm not sure that there is much use in responding, but - [insert 3 screens full of verbiage]."*

If you are going to address someone or some idea, then address it head on. What's with all the haughty passive-aggressiveness?

You then go on to posit that what is undesirable can be good for everyone. That is undoubtedly true in many (but not all) cases. But it is not up to you to force undesirable things upon others simply because you think it is good for them. You seem to be confusing individual choice with control over an entire group.

message 16: by bsc (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 82 comments Gary, I must admit that I have only seen a handful of posts by you, but in most of them you are calling out someone else's passive-aggressiveness. I hate to be Mr. Obvious, but you may want to look in the mirror. I'm not even sure you know what that word means.

message 17: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments Ben, what does the fact that most of the limited number of posts you have personally seen include calling out passive-aggressiveness have to do with anything? What's your point? What percentage of my total posts have you seen? Why would it matter?

In fact, I do know what it means, as is apparent by reading the handful of posts you've seen in context. Do you know what it means? You suggest I "may want to look in the mirror." That implies you think I have been passive-aggressive. Will you be specific, please? Why are you not sure? Is your post passive-aggressive? Get to the point.

How does your post fit into this particular discussion?

message 18: by Glennis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Glennis (MissingVolume) | 2 comments Just an FYI I'm on several different types of boards and as far as I know none of them have been able to do that. Now if this was a newsgroup all you would have to do is set up a killfile. Mostly what I have seen over the years is people stating they will no longer read a certain poster and use the word "plonk" to describe what they are doing. There is a good Wiki page about the word if anyone is curious.

message 19: by Gary (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Gary | 69 comments >"I can only give voice to my confusion"

On this we agree.

message 20: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments Abigail, you have so thorough misconstrued everything I've said, and have so thoroughly misrepresented the conversations at issue (specifically the "free speech" thread) that I have to assume that either you're arguing in bad faith because you just want to automatically take issue with anything I say, or you're just not all that bright. I don't think it's the latter, so I'll assume it's the former. In that case, I don't think there's much point in continuing to talk to you, especially if it means that we're going to be subjected to another three to five screens of MEGO-inducing prose, but for the sake of the onlookers, I'm going to say one more thing and then I'm going to stop.

There is a difference between the following two scenarios:

1) A conversation that is being presented to the readers as an accurate rendition of how that conversation actually unfolded, but is not, in fact, accurate, because some of the conversation has been edited after the fact with no indication that it has been edited. A reader coming along later, therefore, has no idea that the conversation he's now reading isn't what actually took place, because there's no indication of any after-the fact edits. This is the situation adding an "edited" tag is meant to cure, period.

Now, please contrast that with:

2) a conversation where anyone who wants to can see an accurate rendition of the conversation, but certain posters have deliberately blocked certain other posters for whatever reason. Thus, they are aware that they are not necessarily looking at the entire conversation because that is what they're choosing to do. If they wish to see the entire conversation, they can choose to turn off their filters so that that can do so. They are not being presented with a certain conversation under the false pretense that it's entirely accurate.

Now, do these really seem contradictory to you? Seriously?

(That's meant to be a purely rhetorical question, btw, as I am officially done with this thread. I note this only so that people don't take my silence as assent to the next five screens of Abigail's response.)

message 21: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Jason (Gireesh42) | 13 comments This shit is priceless. Someone should really start a group so we can all argue with eachother (passive agressively or otherwise) without having to worry about complaints.

EDIT: Oh, yeah... If we end up with a filter like that, can we choose to filter the people who filter people? ;)

message 22: by Otis, Chief Goodreader (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Otis Chandler | 4184 comments Mod
Hey all,

Wow - quite a thread! If I had an hour to spare I'd write a thoughtful and long response to the essays in this thread, responding to all the issues. But I don't, so I'll be brief:

1. The first request, filtering friend updates by friend groups, is definitely high on the todo list.
2. The second request, which started the melee, seems reasonable because it would be an opt-in option and would cause nobody harm. If people really know of other sites that use this kind of mechanism, please point them out, with links to the faq that explains it. That, more than anything else is likely to get a result.
3. I deleted some of the more offensive posts from this thread. Anything where one person is verbally attacking another person will not fly, as I've said before. So please, be nice to each other :)

message 23: by bsc (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

bsc (bsc0) | 82 comments The forum has this feature. It is called "ignore" and I believe that instead of showing the user's text, it shows that you are ignoring that user. Their text can be seen only by removing them from your ignore list. Note that this is all from memory from a couple of years ago, so it may be different now. This may be the same for all vBulletin forums, though I don't have any experience with others.

Here's a link to the FAQ:

message 24: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:17PM) (new)

David (David_Giltinan) | 17 comments The TableTalk forum on has a similar feature, which works essentially as Ben describes it. It works on an opt-in basis, while it is in effect, posts from any blocked users are replaced by a note that you are not being shown those posts, and it is easily reversed. I believe the colloquial term on that forum for choosing to ignore posts from a particular user is to "ENUF" the user.

message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments The Well has such a feature, but there's no link to a FAQ explaining it, sorry. However, here's a link to the imdb "ignore" feature:

message 26: by Otis, Chief Goodreader (new)

Otis Chandler | 4184 comments Mod
Thanks for the examples - very helpful!

message 27: by Laura (last edited Dec 14, 2007 09:46PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 228 comments One more example, which also refers to The Well's feature (yep, it's actually called a bozofilter on the Well):

message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Duncan (JPaulDuncan) | 52 comments Abigail.. the 8000 character limit is a suggestion - not a goal!!


But I agree on many of your points!

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